The Triple Helix: Research, Teaching and Connectivity

The Triple Helix: Research, Teaching and Connectivity 2017

The Triple Helix: Research, Teaching and Connectivity

The Output measures defined in Section 3 include variables that reflect both research and teaching. But they do not include measures of the quality of graduates because until recently internationally comparable data were not available. This position has been rectified, at least for a sub-group of our countries, by the OECD’s Programme for the Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC). The measures we use are mean literary and numeracy scores of 20–24 year-olds who have a tertiary qualification or who are undertaking tertiary education. These data are available for 30 of our 50 countries and are combined with equal weights into a single ranking. The top five countries, in rank order, are Finland, the Netherlands, Austria, Sweden and Belgium (Flanders).

The PIACC data can then be combined with our other measures to derive rankings for Teaching. From the measures used in Section 3 we take total expenditure per student (R3) and the tertiary enrolment rate (O6). The data are combined using rank values with a weight of 0.5 on the competency score and 0.25 on each of the other two measures. Ranks are used because the competency scores show much less variation than do the other two variables (for further explanation see Williams and de Rassenfosse, 2016). By combining competency scores with participation rates we offset any advantage accruing to countries with a more selective higher education sector.

A Research measure is derived by picking out the research-dominated variables in our Output module: publications per head (O2), impact of research as measured by citations (O3), and the two Shanghai ranking measures (O4 and O5). These are combined into a single ranking using the same weights as in Section 3. The Connectivity measure used in this section is the same as in Section 3.

Three Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland and Sweden) and the Netherlands stand out as the strongest overall performers with ranks in the top ten for each component of the triple helix. The Teaching rank is worse than for Research and Connectivity in Israel and Italy but especially in the United Kingdom where participation rates are relatively low. Countries where the rank for teaching is noticeably higher than that for the two other activities include Japan, Korea and Norway. Two countries have the same rank for all three activities: France and Greece.

Research performance is more highly correlated with Connectivity than with Teaching: the rank correlation coefficients are 0.87 and 0.70, respectively. Nevertheless, most countries that lead in research also score reasonably highly on teaching, which adds a little to the debate on whether concentration on research weakens the quality of teaching. The highest correlation is between Research and Connectivity (0.87).